Connections 07/05/09

For week of July 5, 2009
Issue 259

The Men’s Ministry newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.
Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others.

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“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19

“The real act of discovery is not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust

“Your body is not you. Your job is not you. Your success, reputation, and possessions are not you. What your parents, boss, peers, friends, or enemies think of you is not you. Your circumstances and limitations are not you. Psychologist Dan Baker puts it like this: ‘There is a you in you nobody put there.’ We will all, like Daniel, spend some time in Babylon (see Daniel 1:1-7). Sometimes dreams will go unfulfilled, health will disappear, hopes will fade. The key question is never, ‘What have I lost?’ It is ‘What do I have left?’” John Ortberg in When the Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box

by Julia Duin
Six years ago the Rev. Barry Black was appointed the 62nd chaplain to the US Senate, bringing with him a trifecta of firsts — first black chaplain, first Seventh-day Adventist, and first military chaplain to ascend to the post.

His office is on the third floor of the Capitol; a marvelous piece of Senate real estate that overlooks the western terrace, where presidents are inaugurated.

“If you can’t pray for the nation with a view like this, you’ve got serious problems,” he jokes as we gaze over the sweep of manicured lawns on the National Mall to the Washington Monument less than 20 blocks away.

Mr. Black, 60, pastors what’s in effect a megachurch: 7,000 people including 100 senators, their employees and families. He leads five Bible studies a week, including one that attracts 200 people to a venue in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. He counsels, offers spiritual mentoring classes, officiates at prayer breakfasts and comes up with original prayers that open the daily Senate sessions…. Read this in full at

“You don’t need to have all the answers to every theological question. You don’t have to master a polished gospel presentation that you mechanically recite whether people want to hear it or not. You don’t have to pretend you’re the next Billy Graham. All you have to do is authentically follow Christ in your own life and ask him to ambush you with opportunities, then trust that he’s going to use you in spite of (and sometimes even because of) your shortcomings, foibles, and quirks.

“Simply put, our role is this: to be ready and willing — because God is always able. After all, he is the great evangelist; we’re merely the tools that he uses to fulfill his mission of redeeming the world, one individual at a time.” Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg in The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus

by Dan Gilgoff, US News and World Report
The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation’s largest evangelical group, announced its new Washington lobbyist yesterday, about six months after its longtime DC representative, Richard Cizik, resigned under pressure. Cizik had long been in the cross hairs of Christian-right leaders over his high-profile activism on global warming, but the nail in the coffin was a radio interview in which he expressed support for legalized gay civil unions. Now, a longtime manager with World Relief, Galen Carey, will run the NAE’s Washington office. I caught up with Carey, just after the NAE announced that it had hired him. Excerpts:

Q: What are your top priorities for the NAE?
A: My first priority will be to get to know the NAE and hold some in-depth dialogues to learn what issues are most important. My role is to represent the churches that are part of it as well as I can. The Health of the Nation Document lays out the seven issues of common evangelical interest.

Q: What are the issues closest to your heart?
A: I’ve spent the last 25 years working on issues related to refugees and the poor both domestically and overseas. Those issues fit under the NAE’s rubric. That’s not to say I don’t care about other issues, but there will be more of a learning curve there…. Read this in full at

A.J. Jacobs describes himself as an agnostic Jew, but after publishing his book about living by biblical laws for a year, he has been invited to several Christian churches and events. The author of The Year of Living Biblically spoke with Christianity Today about speaking to Christians, the evangelical subculture, and how rituals are not rational.

Q: How does it feel to be invited to places like the National Pastors Convention to tell Christians about their faith?
A: You’re going to make me commit the sin of pride? I’m not supposed to do that. I hadn’t thought about it. Now I’m intimidated. Before it was okay. Now I feel terrible.

No, I’m very flattered. I have gotten lots of emails saying that it strengthens people’s faith, and that’s great. It’s weird, because on the other side I’ve gotten some agnostics, secular people who say, “Your book showed me how some of the rules in the Old Testament are so crazy. Thanks for reconfirming that.” It’s interesting that people take away different things from the book. I love breaking down the walls between the secular and the religious…. Read this in full at

“William Carey came to India to save millions, but he actually led only a handful to Christ with his words. When he lost the support of his friends in England, when his family suffered tragedy, when he failed to gain converts, he did not give up on his calling. Rather than admit failure, he sought a new way to reach the lost of India. Using his language skills, he translated the Bible into scores of Indian languages and dialects. It was this behind-the-scenes effort that opened India to missionary work. It also set the pattern for the Bible to become the most translated and published book in the world.

“A historian once noted this about the man who personally led so very few to Christ: “Taking his life as a whole, it is not too much to say that he was the greatest and most versatile Christian missionary sent out in modern times.” Ace Collins in Stories behind Men of Faith

“Men perish with whispering sins, nay with silent sins, sins that never tell the conscience that they are sins, as often as with crying sins; and in hell there shall meet as many men that never thought what was sin, as that spent all their thoughts in the compassing of sin.” John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. I, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon XIV, p. 276

The guy in the flashy boat whips his arm forward, casting the sun-glistened lure through the spring air with a whistling sound. The lure splashes among the cattails lining the shallow banks of the lake. As the line is reeled in slowly, there’s the unmistakable jerk and a seven-pound bass explodes out of the water, ready for battle.

A seemingly idyllic life on the surface, the professional bass fisherman’s life is rife with pressure and temptation.

For every big-name pro like Kevin VanDam, Bill Dance or Roland Martin, plenty of guys finish out of the money or barely make enough to squeak by. Addictions and issues with families and lonely lives also are common for an angler on the road. Chris Wells sees it all…. Read this in full at

“Money problems, sickness, and emotional difficulties stress a marriage. But nothing is quite so devastating as unmet expectations. The longer those go unfulfilled the less tolerance spouses have for each other and the more tension builds. The only way to deal with the problem is for couples to be honest with each other, reset their priorities, and then decide how best to meet those needs over time.

“Likewise, as we continue to bring our needs to God, we can have faith and not lose heart when he fails to immediately provide what we need. For during the waiting time he may be giving us far better gifts than those we have asked for — gifts that can ease our selfishness, build our marriages, and strengthen our families. As we wait and trust, we begin to experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23).” From Couples’ Devotional Bible

“In vain does any man pretend that he will be a martyr for his religion, when he will not rule an appetite, nor restrain a lust, nor subdue a passion, nor cross his covetousness and ambition, for the sake of it, and in hope of that eternal life “which God that cannot lie hath promised.’ He that refuseth to do the less is not like to do the greater. It is very improbable that a man will die for his religion, when he cannot be persuaded to live according to it. He that cannot take up a resolution to live a saint, hath a demonstration within himself, that he is never like to die a martyr.” John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. IV, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LXXVII, p. 451-452

When sex symbol Rudolph Valentino died at the age of 31 in 1926, riots broke out as tens of thousands of mourners tried to cram themselves into a public viewing in New York. It was, says Emory University’s Gary Laderman, “a new kind of sacred attachment, one based on fame and looks, personality and stardom.” Call it the birth of the First Church of Celebrity Worship.

Laderman’s new book, “Sacred Matters: Celebrity Worship, Sexual Ecstasies, the Living Dead and Other Signs of Religious Life in the United States,” probes America’s obsession at the altar of celebrity. Pop icon Michael Jackson’s death at age 50, he said, brings that faith into “sharp relief.” …. Read this in full at

by Mary E. DeMuth
Two years before I penned my first novel, Chuck Colson discussed the power of fiction to change culture. He chronicled the success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, how a simple story did more to abolish slavery than any didactic treatise. He writes, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a reminder that one of the reasons we read fiction is because fiction helps train the moral imagination.” This fueled my desire to aspire to something so great, to write words that captured readers’ imaginations….Beyond experiencing escapist entertainment or appreciating an underlying message, what are some compelling reasons for Christ-followers to delve into a novel? Here are ten:…. Read this in full at

Today, hospice is an accepted part of American medicine. One out of three terminally ill Americans uses hospice care. People increasingly assume that hospice is part of the dying process. They also assume a key hospice principle: that people should be cared for in such a way that they can live fully until they die. Few realize that the modern hospice movement is young and that Christian faith motivated its founder.

The modern hospice movement is rooted in a much older idea of hospitality. Indeed, the term comes from the same Latin root as hospital and hostel. Places of hospitality were not confined to the Latin-speaking world, however. Greeks, Indians, Romans, early Christians, and Muslims all built places where pilgrims and travelers, particularly the sick, could rest and find care. In modern times, Christians showed their commitment to hospitality for the hurting by building hospitals and, at the end of the 19th century, the first institutions dedicated solely to caring for the dying. Called hospices, these institutions lacked the fully formed philosophy that would characterize the modern movement, they but did offer inspiration to the movement’s founder, Dame Cicely Saunders…. Read this in full at

The Leadership Summit is August 6-7. Speakers include Tony Blair, Bono, Chip & Dan Heath, Tim Keller, Bill Hybels, Harvey Carey, Henry Cloud, and more.

[Jesus said,] “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

“The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.” Leonard Cohen

“The foundational promise God made through the prophets and recorded in the Old Testament is the promise of a new covenant, or new testament (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36-37). Central to this covenant would be a decisive activity on God’s part to deal with the problem of human sinfulness. This happened in the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross. In the horror and suffering on the cross, Jesus absorbed God’s wrath against sin in his own body and in our place.

“Much of the New Testament describes the passion of Christ and reflects on its significance for us. When Jesus of Nazareth began his three-year public ministry, he announced that he had come in fulfillment of this new covenant promise. During the last supper as he distributed the bread and wine to his disciples, he remarked, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’ ( Luke 22:20). Jesus was truly ‘the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). The 27 books of the New Testament provide testimony of God’s work in and through Jesus to fulfill this new covenant promise.” Clinton E. Arnold in How We Got the Bible

The “Run for the Roses” is well-known at Churchill Downs, but for assistant chaplain Yurian Cabrera, the “roses” of the Kentucky Derby come second to seeing faith blossom at the famed racetrack’s fruit of ministry. Cabrera, a 29-year-old native of Cuba, is a church planting missionary and part-time pastor of Iglesia Bautista Senda de Luz in Louisville.

Serving as a chaplain at the racetrack is yet another of his passions. “I just love the smell, the track, the horses and, most of all, the people who work here,” Cabrera smiled broadly, a dark goatee highlighting bright cheeks.

Early in the mornings, he relays a “Minute with God” over Churchill Downs’ PA system in both English and Spanish as a devotional for track workers. “It is a very brief reminder that God is real and that He cares about the workers here at the track,” Cabrera said. More than 700 Hispanics, mostly from Mexico, Central America and Cuba, work in some capacity at the track. Many live within the stable area, or “backside” of the track, with others in nearby apartment buildings…. Read this in full at

“There are few more dizzying realities of life than cooperating with God to produce another human being. This aspect of the marital experience should be particularly meaningful for Christians (and a key reason why having difficulty conceiving can be so painful to so many couples). The picture of God as Creator is central to his authority, identity, and purpose. In fact, the Bible is framed around the fact that God is Creator.

“The first thing we learn about God in the book of Genesis is that he created the heavens and the earth (see Genesis 1:1); the last image of the New Testament shows God creating a new heaven and a new earth. When God says, ‘I am making everything new!’ (Revelation 21:5), the word ‘making’ is in the present tense — it’s an ongoing process. God walks into eternity creating.” Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy? (DVD)

Two of the world’s most prominent pastor-theologians on justification — and what difference it makes.

Since Christianity Today’s August 2007 cover story, “What Did Paul Really Mean?” John Piper and N.T. Wright have taken the debate on justification from the academy to the masses. Here’s where the two evangelicals differ.

John Piper: Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Author of The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright.

N.T. Wright: Bishop of Durham, Church of England. Author of Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision.

The Problem
Piper: God created a good world that was subjected to futility because of the sinful, treasonous choice of the first human beings. Because of this offense against the glory of God, humans are alienated from their Creator and deserve his just condemnation for their sins.

Wright: God created a good world, designed to be looked after and brought to its intended purpose through his image-bearing human beings. This purpose was thwarted by the sinful choice of the first human beings. Because of human sinfulness, the world needs to be put to rights again and its original purpose taken forward to completion. God’s purpose in putting humans “right” is that through them, the world can be put to rights…. Read this in full at

“I have a friend who went through deep waters several years ago. He described the weeks and months that followed as the darkest days of his life. Feeling as though he was drowning in depression and grief, he sought the Lord with a desperation beyond anything he had ever experienced. As a result, he learned a new way to pray in those days — on his face on the living room carpet, arms outstretched, as dependent as a little child.

“Looking back on those days, my friend recalls how narrow his world had become, with the suffocating darkness pressing in from all sides. His Bible became as thin as a half dozen of his favorite psalms. But he also remembers an indescribable connection with God, as if a larger channel had been opened between them. It resulted in a new sense of God’s presence and an ability to discern His voice. His new standard for prayer was his nose buried in the carpet fibers, his arms out in front of him, palms up. He learned that the lower he placed himself before God, the more he expressed his utter dependence on the Lord for everything, the sooner God’s miraculous work of healing and restoration began in his life.

“Hard-pressed and hedged in? Just remember that where the Spirit of the Lord is … wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And hope. And light. And even beauty.” Joni Eareckson Tada in A Lifetime of Wisdom: Embracing the Way God Heals You

The first NIV Bible penned by 31,173 individuals has finally been completed following a nearly 9-month effort that organizers originally thought would take about five.  Since its launch on Sept. 30, 2008, the “Bible Across America” tour has been gathering handwritten verses from people from all ages and walks of life to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the bestselling NIV Bible, the most-used English language translation today.

At first, organizers expected to gather all verses over the course of five months as a team of four traveled across the country in a 42-foot RV. However, as the Feb. 12 deadline drew near, only 15,000 verses had been collected, prompting organizers to extend the 15,000-mile journey for another 3,500 miles.

With the effort having concluded on June 24, it was not immediately known whether copies of the completed Bible would be published before the end of the year, though some reports place the publishing date at around October or November…. Read this in full at

Public Enemies movie director Michael Mann often blurs the line between the good guys and the bad in the moral crossfire between cops and robbers…. Read this in full at

“[The Christian] refuses to give his heart to, or be taken in by, the values and pleasures of this passing world. He does not hesitate to use all that is good and beautiful and true, partly because he knows that his God gives him “richly all things to enjoy,” and partly because he knows that in all life’s impermanent beauties and pleasures, there is the promise of the real and permanent which he is thoroughly convinced will exceed his wildest expectations.

“But even the Christian, for all this satisfying and hopeful conviction, does not know the meaning of the mystery of life, and if he is wise he does not pretend to. He has enough light to light him on his way, but there are a great many gaps in his knowledge. When he says, “one day we shall understand”, he is by no means always uttering a pious platitude. Quite frequently he is voicing a solid conviction, a genuine facet of hope. At present his vision is severely limited, and that is probably just as well if his sanity is to be preserved. But when he is free from the limitations of temporal life, he has every hope of being able to know as surely as he is at present known.” J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), New Testament Christianity, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1956, ch. 5

“Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.” C. S. Lewis

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

“The story of every great Christian achievement is the history of answered prayer.” E. M. Bounds


Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you’d like the church guys to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I’ll add your name to the list for the time you’ll be away.]

Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I’ll put it in this newsletter.

Book your next vacation with us!

Books, Music & More!

Get your domain name here!

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Photo contest winners capture America the beautiful

Cute photo of giraffe licking a squirrel

Volcano eruption captured from space

Best of History Websites

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by our church.

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.)

If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!


CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!


The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
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